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Grafting rhododendron on PH neutral understocks

Decker, Brian M.
Acta horticulturae 2014 no.1055 pp. 227-229
Rhododendron, gardening, hiking, horticulturists, immigration, mountain soils, mountains, trees, North Carolina
Recently, I was vacationing in the Smokey Mountains and the mountains around Asheville, North Carolina. I was amazed by the vigorous growth of the wild rhododendron. The plants were small trees and were best pruned from the hiking paths not with propagation pruners but with bushhogs. Unfortunately many parts of North America lack a gardening soil even remotely close to the well-drained acidic organic mountain soils that allow these plants to thrive; hence the origin of this journey. Before I begin to discuss grafting of rhododendron it might be best to introduce our company. Decker Nursery was founded in 1921 by my Grandfather, Paul Offenberg. He was a professionally trained horticulturalist from Holland and brought with him, along with many other European immigrants, the propagation skills necessary to found the Paul Offenberg Nursery. Through the Great Depression, World War II, and the emergence of horticulture in the post war era, Offenberg Nursery grew into another generation with Bernard Decker, Paul’s son-in-law, as President. In 1981 the Offenberg Nursery relocated, reorganized, and changed its name to Decker Nursery, Inc.